A machine learning and explainable artificial intelligence triage-prediction system for COVID-19

Varada Vivek Khanna, Krishnaraj Chadaga, Niranjana Sampathila, Srikanth Prabhu, P. Rajagopala Chadaga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


COVID-19 is a respiratory disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 contagion, severely disrupted the healthcare infrastructure. Various countries have developed COVID-19 vaccines that have effectively prevented the severe symptoms caused by the virus to a certain extent. However, a small section of people continues to perish. Artificial intelligence advances have revolutionized healthcare diagnosis and prognosis infrastructure. In this study, we predict the severity of COVID-19 using heterogenous Machine Learning and Deep Learning algorithms by considering clinical markers, vital signs, and other critical factors. This study extensively reviews various classifier architectures to predict the COVID-19 severity. We built and evaluated multiple pipelines entailing combinations of five state-of-the-art data-balancing techniques (Synthetic Minority Oversampling Technique (SMOTE), Adaptive Synthetic, Borderline SMOTE, SMOTE with Tomek links, and SMOTE with Edited Nearest Neighbor (ENN)) and twelve heterogeneous classifiers such as Logistic Regression, Decision Tree, Random Forest, Support Vector Machine, K-Nearest Neighbors, Naïve Bayes, Xgboost, Extratrees, Adaboost, Light GBM, Catboost, and 1-D Convolution Neural Network. The best-performing pipeline consists of Random Forest trained on Borderline SMOTE balanced data that produced the highest recall of 83%. We deployed Explainable Artificial Intelligence tools such as Shapley Additive Explanations and Local Interpretable Model-agnostic Explanations, ELI5, Qlattice, Anchor, and Feature Importance to demystify complex tree-based ensemble models. These tools provide valuable insights into the significance of critical features in the severity prediction of a COVID-19 patient. It was observed that changes in respiratory rate, blood pressure, lactate, and calcium values were the primary contributors to the increase in severity of a COVID-19 patient. This architecture aims to be an explainable decision-support triaging system for medical professionals in countries lacking advanced medical technology and infrastructure to reduce fatalities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100246
JournalDecision Analytics Journal
Publication statusPublished - 06-2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Decision Sciences(all)
  • Analysis
  • Modelling and Simulation
  • Applied Mathematics


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